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Welsh Government have ‘more than enough money’ to manage coal tips says Lords whip

21 Jan 2022 3 minute read
James Younger, 5th Viscount Younger of Leckie. Left, the aftermath of the Tylorstown landslide which happened during Storm Dennis in 2020.

The Welsh Government have “more than enough money” to manage coal tips left over from the industrial revolution without any more financial support, a UK Government whip has said.

Hereditary peer James Younger, the Viscount of Leckie, who sits in the House of Lords, was responding to a request that the UK Government “pay up” on clearing the coal tips which are a problem that pre-date devolution.

In October the Welsh Government criticised the UK Government for failing to make any extra money available to help make Wales’ most high-risk coal tips safe.

First Minister Mark Drakeford had called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help fix the problem created before devolution and show the people of Wales that the Union was “there at their back”.

But James Younger said that although the Welsh Government and UK Governments discuss the matter regularly, no more money would be made available.

“Ultimately, environmental matters are fully devolved, and the Welsh Government are more than adequately funded to manage all devolved responsibilities,” he said.

He said that there were 2,500 coal tips in Wales, including 327 in the higher-risk categories, “however, they are deemed to be safe”.

He added however that it was “very challenging and rather dangerous to do anything with them because remediation—for example, smoothing them out—is much more challenging in Wales than it is for the other 4,000 around the UK”. However the Welsh Government “can pay for coal-tip maintenance”.

He added: “The central pillar of the support we have given is to ensure that the Welsh Government are properly funded to manage their devolved responsibilities, including the remediation of vulnerable coal tips.

“At the 2021 spending review, the UK Government provided the Welsh Government with the largest annual block grant in real terms of any spending review settlement since devolution in 1998.”

‘Differences’

Viscount Younger was asked by Baroness Humphreys, a Welsh Liberal Democrat peer, among others why the UK Government was not doing more to help clear Wales’ coal fields.

“My Lords, south Wales coalfields in particular made a massive contribution to the wealth of the UK over the years, with 40% of the UK’s coalfields being in Wales,” she said.

“We have already heard how climate impacts are increasing the risks that disused coal tips pose to our Welsh communities. Residents believe that the UK Government have a legal and moral responsibility to work with the Welsh Government to address this issue.

“Why can both Governments not put their differences aside, put the interests of the residents who live in the shadow of the coal tips first, and meet in the middle?”

Her argument echoed that of Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans MS, who said in October that the UK Government’s stance was “indefensible”.

“These tips are a legacy of the UK’s industrial past,” she said. “The need for work to address this impact of disruptive climate change was unknown, and provision was not made when Wales’ funding arrangements were agreed in 1999.

“The UK Government had an opportunity to show it is would stand behind the communities whose efforts created huge wealth for the UK, instead it has chosen to turn its back on them.”


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Phil
Phil
8 months ago

Grammar!… Welsh Government HAS, not Welsh government HAVE.
There’s only one Welsh Government, so it’s singular.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
8 months ago

This is England’s mess that they created and benefitted from while our people were living in poverty. They can pay to clear it up.

Andrew
Andrew
8 months ago

Lord Viscount Leckie Fiddler. The withdrawal of our share of HS2 taxes to pay for England’s rail upgrade should go some way towards making our communities safe.

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
8 months ago

That’s what the English have been doing for hundreds of years to All the English empire stealing they’re assets and leaving them with the aftermath to clean up nothing has changed even what happened in Aberfan when the National Coal BOARD KILLED ALL THEM CHILDREN AND ADULTS AND ROBBED THE FUND SET UP FOR THE PEOPLE IN ABERFAN TO MAKE THE TIPS SAFE HOW LOW CAN THE LONDON GOVERNMENT GO

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
8 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

Go so low that they would not pay to make the coal s**g tips safe after the disaster that happened in ABERFAN and without any kind of shame took the money from the CHILDREN’S Fund too make the coal s**g tips safe the very tip that had Killed them

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

As Wales suffers still thanks to hundreds of highly dangerous coal slurry tips as a result of Westminster’s thirst for our natural resources, the very same who benefitted from our blood sweat and tears arrogantly negate responsibility for something they were party to makes me sick. Westminster & House of Lords are the reason why in 1966, 116 innocent children & 28 adults died a horrible death in the Aberfan disaster. He & they must get this into their thick heads that both houses are culpable being ones who oversaw the National Coal Board who dumped like rubbish millions of… Read more »

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Spot on and very clearly explained what goes on with the English government with anything to do with Wales i just can’t understand why they treat Wales with SUCH contempt we have been very loyal too the English and for some reason they treat us with total indifferens come on WALES WAKE UP LET’S GET AWAY FROM THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT AND GET FREEDOM FOR WALES

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago

A welsh peer speaking up for Wales…I don’t believe it…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

How many Welsh Slate, Iron and Coal Lords are there still sitting in the HofL ?

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
8 months ago

This isn’t about money it’s about who’s responsible. The tips were created by the UK government long before the Senedd came into existence, so it is the UK government’s responsible to secure these tips. No ifs no buts.

Grayham Jones
8 months ago

The English government stolen the coal from wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 so they should pay for the tips to be taken away not wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
8 months ago

Drakey! The “union” is “at your back” alright, with a cosh!

Argol Fawr!
Argol Fawr!
8 months ago

The English government are merely adopting a siege like policy towards the devolved nations in an attempt to ‘starve’ voters towards the tories. A despicable and mostly unsuccessful strategy undertaken by all colours of governments, and one the Welsh Labour Gov themselves adopt towards Plaid (or others I guess) run councils.

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

The Youngers in all their Scots guises are excellent brewers and perhaps might keep their talents to the areas they excel….

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